[:en]Reflections: Awakening[:zh]覺悟[:]

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Awakening in Meditation
by Anne Khoury

My face smiles as I remember my Chan 7 Retreat. My mind hears the sound of chanting, drums and the awakening bell, smells the incense, and sees the fog settled in the mountains at day break. My heart remains touched by the kindness and generosity of all who shared their wisdom, practice and guidance and made me feel at home in a new experience and land.

Sitting in mediation was a profound awakening, for my mind has seldom been still in the outside world. When sitting in meditation and my mind became calm, much delusion, ignorance and attachment floated by . . . some of which was deep rooted and long repressed. As I sat with a still mind, I felt a peace and lightness I have never before experienced. Attachments and judgment seemed to disentangle from my mind as clarity, calm, and a feeling of connectedness settled in. That feeling of connectedness to the universe and all beings increased as I meditated during Zen breakfast and lunch . . . reflecting on how what I put into my mouth, to became part of my body, came from a multitude of sources and perspectives.

It is now my challenge to hold onto this experience in practice as I “pick up” in the outside world. Interestingly, upon my return to the USA, there was no jet lag and my mind seems to have transformed. It is much calmer, focused, and aware of the essence of what I am here to contribute. There is hope. Perhaps our world leaders and all sentient being need a Chan 7 Retreat. The world would be a much different place.

Thank you for your generosity in sharing the dharma, your practice and for the joy of glimpsing my awakening mind.

How the Teaching of “The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana” Changed My Life
by Peggy Bryant

In the spring session, 2004, our new Abbess of Buddha Gate Monastery, Ven. Jian Pin, introduced the sutra study class to the sutra on “The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana”. She explained that this sutra contained the core understandings applicable to all Buddhist sutras. The sutra was difficult, concise, and required a lot of explanation and discussion to be understood.

In Chan Buddhism, the mind is the Buddha, and to realize our mind is to become enlightened. I was very interested in the Sutra because it explicates the aspect of the nonenlightened, deluded mind. In the section “The Aspect of Nonenlightenment”, there is a logical explanation of how we become deluded, what it means in a step by step fashion to develop aspects that characterize our defiled state.

In this section, I learned that because of being unenlightened, our deluded mind produces the activity of ignorance, the perceiving subject, and the world of objects. Then, conditioned by the world of objects, the deluded mind produces the discriminating intellect, continuity of deluded thoughts, attachment to what it likes, analysis of words devoid of reality, evil karma, and suffering. This is what my mind is doing all the time!

Abbess Jian Pin encouraged me to study and memorize this section of the sutra and for this I am most thankful. Studying this sutra has helped me to better understand what it means to be deluded and how delusions arise. When I improve my understanding of how my deluded mind works, I feel that I have more power to make right choices, to avoid taking everything in my mind as real. I understand more clearly that I have the option to choose what I believe in and that I need not believe in and act on everything that arises in my mind. Let those moods, cravings, needs go! In short, studying this sutra is helping me to understand more clearly how to know myself, how to practice more effectively to purify my mind to eventually realize its original nature.

Reflection
by Peggy Bryant

The other day I was walking around the block near the hospital where I work, when an older man got out of his car right near me. We exchanged “hellos” and I asked how he was. He was a handsome, African American, tall and athletic looking. He noted my hospital ID badge and started telling me about his recent heart bypass surgery, his kidneys that were beginning to fail (his doctor wanted to discuss dialysis), and his prostate cancer. He said, “You know, I’m just not sure I want to deal with all this.” He told me that he had worked for many years as a longshoreman at the Oakland docks. He was always in good shape, he said, and he had felt good about himself physically. Now, he said, pointing to his outstretched arm, “I don’t have much muscle left.” He was proud that he had just celebrated his 73rd birthday. It was tough, he said. All the while, he had a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye, so I knew that he’d continue to fight. He was grateful for what he had.

This made me reflect on my Buddhist practice and how we struggle with our conventional views of ourselves versus what we know to be true about existence; that is, everything is impermanent. How can we learn to accept impermanence? Buddhism teaches that meditation is key in developing self knowledge and, therefore, clear seeing. During sitting meditation, we face ourselves alone. It’s very difficult to allow things just to be as they are when we sit. There’s no fooling ourselves that things come and go – thoughts, pains, noises, feelings change. Impermanence. That means accepting our bodies that hurt, our minds that run around, our always having to work to remain focused and alert. To just sit, facing ourselves as we are.

I wish I could tell that man I met on the street how meditation is helping me to face myself and accept things as they are, always changing. That is half the battle.

[:zh]

禪七的契悟

Anne Khoury

 

想起禪七,臉上泛起了笑意,心中聽到了梵唱、鼓聲、引磬聲,聞到了薰香,看到了山上破曉時分的晨霧。至今我仍十分感念每一位法師,他們慈悲寛厚地分享智慧、指導我們修行,讓我在新的體驗和新的環境中有家的感覺。

靜坐讓我有深刻的領悟,因為我的心在世俗生活中很難安住。心在靜坐時變得平靜,一些深藏和壓抑在心底的妄念、無知、與執著不時地掠過。當我靜坐讓心安住時,體會到前所未有的平和與清淨。當心依止在清明、寧靜及融合的感覺時,執著與分別似乎就超脫了。在早午齋之間的靜坐時,我和宇宙及一切眾生連結的感受增強了……我從不同源起和面向,觀照我所進用的食物,如何成為身體的一部份。

現在的難題是,重拾世俗生活後要怎麼保任這些體驗。耐人尋味地,返美後我沒有任何時差,心境似乎有所轉變,變得更沈靜、專注、明白我應該要奉獻什麼。我懷著希望。或許世界的領導人與一切有情眾生都應該需要打禪七,這樣世界將會變得很不一樣。

感謝法師慈悲,授予法寶、身教、讓我一瞥契悟的法喜。

«大乘起信論»如何改變我的人生

Peggy Bryant

 

二00四年春季研經班,佛門寺新任住持見品(Jian Pin)法師在研經班介紹了«大乘起信論»。住持法師說明這篇論文含括了與所有佛經相應的的核心法要,論述扼要而難懂,需要透過詳細的解釋與討論才能理解。

禪宗認為心即是佛,明心即是開悟。我對此論十分有興趣,因為它說明了什麼是不覺與妄心。講到不覺,論述用附合邏輯的方式解釋我們為何會痴迷,一層層的剖析我們心中的雜染。

這門課讓我瞭解,我們的妄心因為不覺,而造作無明的行為、執取我所與外緣。我們因為被外緣束縛,妄心便產生了分別心、妄念、貪愛、妄語、惡業、和苦厄。我的心無時無刻不是如此在運作!

我最感念的是見品法師鼓勵我研讀並背誦這段論文,讓我更瞭解我們什麼是妄念以及妄念因何而起。當我進一步瞭解我的妄心是如何運作的,我就更有能力做出正確的選擇,避免將妄心當真心。我也更明白應該如何在信受與不信受之間取拾、以及要如何對治每個起心動念。放下喜怒、貪愛和欲念吧!簡而言之,學習此論讓我更清楚要如何認識自己、如何更有效率地修行來淨化心性,找到自己的本來面目。

覺照
by Peggy Bryant

前幾天在我工作的醫院附近漫步,一位男子剛好從他的座車下來。彼此打了招呼後,我問他可好。他是個英俊高眺、有著運動員身材的非裔人士。他注意到我掛著醫院的識別證,於是開始訴說他最近的心臟繞道手術、他的腎臟開始衰竭(醫生想與他討論洗腎的問題) 、他還有攝護腺癌。他說:「你知道嗎?我不確定是不是應該處理這些問題。」他告訴我他在奧克蘭碼頭做了許多年的碼頭工人,以往他總是維持良好的狀態,對自己的身體很滿意。他露出伸直的手臂說:「現在,我已經沒有什麼肌肉了。」他很自豪剛剛過了73歲生日,對他而言這並不容易。言談間他始終帶著微笑,眼神露出光芒。我知道他仍在為生命而戰。他很感激自己所擁有的一切。

於是我反思了自己的佛法修行,以及我們如何在世俗眼光中的我與法界實相中的我之間掙扎。也就是說,諸行無常。我們如何學習接受無常?佛法教導我們,禪修是自覺、認清自我的關鍵。透過禪坐,獨自面對自我。禪坐時很難不理會現起的境界。不要騙自己,各種境界來來去去的,妄想、疼痛、雜音、思緒不斷變換。這就是無常。也就是說,接受身體的疼痛、亂跑的思緒、必須時時努力保持專注與警覺。單純靜坐,面對真實的自己。

真希望我能告訴在街角遇到的男子,禪坐如何幫助我面對自己、讓我接受現實的無常。這樣就成功了一半。[:]